Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has welcomed the political agreement on CAP struck by agricultural ministers from across the EU.

Minister McConalogue was in Luxembourg on Monday, where he was among a strong majority of member states to back a compromise package agreed by negotiators at the end of last week.

“I am delighted that it has finally been possible for the EU institutions to come to a political agreement on the future CAP, after three years of negotiations. Ultimately, this deal offers our farm families security that an effective CAP framework will continue to 2027,” he said.

Minister McConalogue said there was now agreement on how to tackle the twin issues of payment redistribution and greater environmental and climate ambition.

He said the maximum level of flexibility for member states to implement the CAP in a way that suited national circumstances had also been achieved.

“For example, on the new eco schemes, the compromise reached on a 25% ring-fencing of direct payments funding allows sufficient flexibility for member states to avoid the risk of a loss of unspent funds, particularly during the initial two-year learning period.

“Similarly, on the targeting of support and the redistribution of payments, I welcome the derogation for member states from the mandatory 10% redistribution - or ‘frontloading’ - requirement, and the inclusion of internal convergence as a mechanism that will be considered in the context of justifying the redistribution needs that we will identify in our CAP strategic plans.

“The fact that internal convergence will now move to a minimum level of 85% of the national average by 2026 is also a positive outcome.”

Minister McConalogue said there was now a significant amount of work required to finalise Ireland’s strategic plan, which must be submitted to the Commission by 1 January 2022.

The minister has undertaken to carry out a wide ranging consultation with all stakeholders.

“I will approach this process in an open and constructive manner, and I hope and expect that all parties – farming, environmental and others - will do the same. I will bring this CAP deal to the farm families of Ireland. It is very much their CAP, and I want to hear what their inputs are.”